US Senate: Ankara must change policy if it wants to buy F-16s

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US lawmaker Robert Menendez says Turkey must change its policy towards Greece and stop its “provocations inside Greek airspace and territorial waters”.

  • US Senate: Ankara must change policy if it wants to buy F-16s

Robert Menendez, the head of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the Greek newspaper Kathimerini that he opposes the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey unless Ankara changes its political course and fulfills its obligations to NATO by refusing to buy the Russian missile defense system S -400.

“Between the continuous adversarial violations of Greece’s airspace and the postponement of Sweden’s and Finland’s NATO accession process, I sincerely hope that Turkey will change course and assume its responsibilities towards the defense alliance in being the constructive partner in the region that we all hope for. Until then, I cannot support the sale or transfer of US F-16 fighter jets to Turkey,” the US senator said. in a media interview.

According to Menendez, Ankara must stop “provocations inside Greek airspace and territorial waters”.

The lawmaker also expressed concern over reports that Turkey was considering buying more Russian S-400 missile defense systems in alleged violation of US sanctions. He urged Ankara to reconsider its relations with Moscow, according to the news agency.

“The Turkish government has the responsibility and the opportunity to unequivocally demonstrate its commitment to NATO and the shared principles and values ​​that underpin this essential partnership,” Menendez said as quoted by Kathimerini.

Besides Ankara’s foreign policy, the US senator is said to have criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s domestic policy. According to Menendez, the democratic process in Turkey is undermined and religious freedom and freedom of expression are often violated.

Turkey wants to buy 40 F-16 fighter jets from the United States and modernize 80 others already in service. US President Joe Biden is currently seeking congressional approval for the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara. Senator Menendez, as head of the Foreign Relations Committee, can veto the sale of the fighter jets.

Greece lobbied actively against the deal, which forced Erdogan to drop contacts with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and accuse him of violating the agreements reached.

Read more: Turkish-Greek tensions cloud NATO drills, Ankara won’t participate

Last year, a US State Department spokesperson urged Turkey to avoid buying additional Russian military equipment, adding that any new large arms purchases from Russia would risk triggering CAATSA 231 sanctions, referring to the Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017. The sanctions imposed on Turkey in 2018 led to a sharp depreciation of the Turkish lira.

On July 28, the Central Bank of Turkey raised consumer price estimates to 60.4% by the end of 2022.

He said in a published report that “the process of disinflation should begin with the measures taken and resolutely implemented to achieve lasting price stability and stronger financial stability as well as the restoration of the environment of peace. As a result, inflation is expected to be 60.4% at the end of 2022, fall to 19.2% at the end of 2023 and maintain the downward trend, falling to 8.8% at the end of 2022. 2024.”

Central Bank forecasts show end-of-year inflation rising 17.6 percentage points from the 42.8 percent projected in April.

Read more: Inflation in Turkey rises to 70%, its highest level in 20 years

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